Ben Watkins’ good friend Sam Roonan grew up with Cystic Fibrosis, which is an inherited condition that causes sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system. Consequently, this causes lung infections and problems with digesting food which led to Sam needing a lung transplant in 2012.
The transplant gave Sam a new lease of life and allowed him to play sports and achieve more in life. However, in 2019 Sam developed an acute rejection to his new lungs and he sadly died in early 2020 at the Rowans Hospice, aged 21.
After Sam died, Ben decided to take on a 242-mile bike ride from London to Paris, to generate income for the Rowans Hospice Charity.
Prior to his challenge in January 2022, Ben told us:
Many people who take on the challenge ride the route over four days with an assisted support team, however, I plan to ride it solo within a 48 hour period.
Ben completed his challenge on Sunday, 29 May 2022 in a very impressive 31 hours, smashing his target of 48 hours and also generating a fantastic £2,770 for the Charity. We asked Ben how he felt after his challenge and he told us:
The challenge was amazing and thoroughly enjoyable; if anything, I was sad to finish it! There were points in the ride where I had to really dig deep and remind myself why I had taken it on (some of the hills were a real killer). Overall, I was elated to finish within 31 hours and would like to thank everyone for the support over the last six months. £2,770 is a number that I never thought I would have achieved and I feel that I have made Sam proud!
Thank you, Ben, for taking on such an incredible challenge, your efforts will help to ensure we can continue to provide vital and much-needed Hospice care free of charge at the point of need.